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World Cup 04/07/2018, 08.47

World Cup Qualifiers' third window sees record 30 sold-out games

The Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers tips off in September and will consist of two more windows, in November and February of next year

World Cup
Fans poured into arenas across the globe to support their national teams as the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers reached its climax, resulting in a record 30 sold-out games being registered in the third window.

Across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, venues were packed and the intensity was at its highest during this window which concluded with the 80 participating teams being reduced to 60, who will do battle in the Second Round.

A European Qualifiers single game record crowd of 12,183 spectators roared Finland on to a pivotal 91-77 victory over Iceland at Helsinki's Hartwall Arena on Monday. The result clinched a spot in the next stage of the competition for the Susijengi.

In the basketball hotbed of the Philippines, some 23,500 spectators - the biggest attendance in the Qualifiers to date - were on hand at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to watch their team face Australia to determine first place in Group B. Due to an on-court incident, the game was cut short and the Boomers came away with an 89-53 victory.

Halfway around the world, the Americas Qualifiers accounted for 9 of the 30 sold-out games in this last phase of the First Round. As a result, the region's total attendance in this window was 71,000, a significant increase on the 57,000 registered in February.

Puerto Rico received loud and unrelenting support from 9,067 fans on Sunday and claimed an 84-79 victory over Mexico in San Juan's Coliseo Roberto Clemente. Making the win even more impressive for the Boricuas was that Mexico had just upset the USA in Mexico City on Thursday.

Not far away in the Dominican Republic, the fans came out in droves to watch a thriller in Utebo. In all, 8,000 filed into the Palacio de los Deportes as the Bahamas edged the Dominicans, 83-82.

#ThisIsMyHouse has been the prevailing theme in the Far East where arenas have been at or near capacity in during the Qualifiers. After totalling 65,000 spectators in February, the number spiked to 84,000 in this third and final window of the First Round.

There was a full house of 7,000 spectators in Taipei for the country's do-or-die showdown with a new-look and much improved Japan.

Spurred on by constant backing, the hosts battled for the first three quarters and only faded late in the Akatsuki Five's 108-68 victory.

In Auckland on Sunday, 7,838 screaming fans watched New Zealand win for the fifth consecutive time in the Asian Qualifiers, 67-57, over China.

Also in Asia, Jordan have captured the imagination of fans in their country during the Qualifiers, which was evident on Monday as 5,000 showed up at the Prince Hamza arena to watch and cheer them on to a 114-70 win over India - the country's fifth victory in six games.

Back in Europe, there were no seats left vacant at the 7,000-seater Sport Complex Basket Hall in Krasnodar as Russia hosted France. The home fans lent their voices to the cause but a star-studded Les Bleus squad won, 84-78.

The Twelve Giant Men of Turkey benefitted from passionate support in the nation's capital Ankara on Sunday once again and prevailed in a hugely significant contest. Fresh off their huge victory over Ukraine three days earlier in Ankara Arena, 8,212 screaming fans poured into the same venue and created an electric atmosphere as Turkey blew out Sweden, 77-52. Ufuk Sarica's side won for the fourth time in the Qualifiers.

In Africa, there was constant singing, dancing and a musically-charged atmosphere in Dakar's Stadium Marius N'Diaye, where two sold-out crowds and a near sell-out inspired hosts Senegal to three consecutive wins, the last one of which came against Mozambique, 78-63.

The Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers tips off in September and will consist of two more windows, in November and February of next year.

E. Carchia

E. Carchia

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